Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VI, Part I

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act V, Scene 3

Before Angiers.


[Alarum. Excursions. Enter JOAN LA PUCELLE]

  • Joan la Pucelle. The regent conquers, and the Frenchmen fly.
    Now help, ye charming spells and periapts;
    And ye choice spirits that admonish me
    And give me signs of future accidents. 2450
    You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
    Under the lordly monarch of the north,
    Appear and aid me in this enterprise.
    [Enter Fiends] 2455
    This speedy and quick appearance argues proof
    Of your accustom'd diligence to me.
    Now, ye familiar spirits, that are cull'd
    Out of the powerful regions under earth,
    Help me this once, that France may get the field. 2460
    [They walk, and speak not]
    O, hold me not with silence over-long!
    Where I was wont to feed you with my blood,
    I'll lop a member off and give it you
    In earnest of further benefit, 2465
    So you do condescend to help me now.
    [They hang their heads]
    No hope to have redress? My body shall
    Pay recompense, if you will grant my suit.
    [They shake their heads] 2470
    Cannot my body nor blood-sacrifice
    Entreat you to your wonted furtherance?
    Then take my soul, my body, soul and all,
    Before that England give the French the foil.
    [They depart] 2475
    See, they forsake me! Now the time is come
    That France must vail her lofty-plumed crest
    And let her head fall into England's lap.
    My ancient incantations are too weak,
    And hell too strong for me to buckle with: 2480
    Now, France, thy glory droopeth to the dust.
    [Excursions. Re-enter JOAN LA PUCELLE fighting hand]
    to hand with YORK. JOAN LA PUCELLE is taken. The
    French fly] 2485
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Damsel of France, I think I have you fast:
    Unchain your spirits now with spelling charms
    And try if they can gain your liberty.
    A goodly prize, fit for the devil's grace!
    See, how the ugly wench doth bend her brows, 2490
    As if with Circe she would change my shape!
  • Joan la Pucelle. Changed to a worser shape thou canst not be.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). O, Charles the Dauphin is a proper man;
    No shape but his can please your dainty eye.
  • Joan la Pucelle. A plaguing mischief light on Charles and thee! 2495
    And may ye both be suddenly surprised
    By bloody hands, in sleeping on your beds!
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Fell banning hag, enchantress, hold thy tongue!
  • Joan la Pucelle. I prithee, give me leave to curse awhile.
  • Richard Plantagenet (Duke of Gloucester). Curse, miscreant, when thou comest to the stake. 2500


[Alarum. Enter SUFFOLK with MARGARET in his hand]

  • Earl of Suffolk. Be what thou wilt, thou art my prisoner.
    [Gazes on her]
    O fairest beauty, do not fear nor fly! 2505
    For I will touch thee but with reverent hands;
    I kiss these fingers for eternal peace,
    And lay them gently on thy tender side.
    Who art thou? say, that I may honour thee.
  • Queen Margaret. Margaret my name, and daughter to a king, 2510
    The King of Naples, whosoe'er thou art.
  • Earl of Suffolk. An earl I am, and Suffolk am I call'd.
    Be not offended, nature's miracle,
    Thou art allotted to be ta'en by me:
    So doth the swan her downy cygnets save, 2515
    Keeping them prisoner underneath her wings.
    Yet, if this servile usage once offend.
    Go, and be free again, as Suffolk's friend.
    [She is going]
    O, stay! I have no power to let her pass; 2520
    My hand would free her, but my heart says no
    As plays the sun upon the glassy streams,
    Twinkling another counterfeited beam,
    So seems this gorgeous beauty to mine eyes.
    Fain would I woo her, yet I dare not speak: 2525
    I'll call for pen and ink, and write my mind.
    Fie, de la Pole! disable not thyself;
    Hast not a tongue? is she not here?
    Wilt thou be daunted at a woman's sight?
    Ay, beauty's princely majesty is such, 2530
    Confounds the tongue and makes the senses rough.
  • Queen Margaret. Say, Earl of Suffolk—if thy name be so—
    What ransom must I pay before I pass?
    For I perceive I am thy prisoner.
  • Earl of Suffolk. How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit, 2535
    Before thou make a trial of her love?
  • Queen Margaret. Why speak'st thou not? what ransom must I pay?
  • Earl of Suffolk. She's beautiful, and therefore to be woo'd;
    She is a woman, therefore to be won.
  • Queen Margaret. Wilt thou accept of ransom? yea, or no. 2540
  • Earl of Suffolk. Fond man, remember that thou hast a wife;
    Then how can Margaret be thy paramour?
  • Queen Margaret. I were best to leave him, for he will not hear.
  • Earl of Suffolk. There all is marr'd; there lies a cooling card.
  • Queen Margaret. He talks at random; sure, the man is mad. 2545
  • Earl of Suffolk. And yet a dispensation may be had.
  • Queen Margaret. And yet I would that you would answer me.
  • Earl of Suffolk. I'll win this Lady Margaret. For whom?
    Why, for my king: tush, that's a wooden thing!
  • Queen Margaret. He talks of wood: it is some carpenter. 2550
  • Earl of Suffolk. Yet so my fancy may be satisfied,
    And peace established between these realms
    But there remains a scruple in that too;
    For though her father be the King of Naples,
    Duke of Anjou and Maine, yet is he poor, 2555
    And our nobility will scorn the match.
  • Queen Margaret. Hear ye, captain, are you not at leisure?
  • Earl of Suffolk. It shall be so, disdain they ne'er so much.
    Henry is youthful and will quickly yield.
    Madam, I have a secret to reveal. 2560
  • Queen Margaret. What though I be enthrall'd? he seems a knight,
    And will not any way dishonour me.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Lady, vouchsafe to listen what I say.
  • Queen Margaret. Perhaps I shall be rescued by the French;
    And then I need not crave his courtesy. 2565
  • Earl of Suffolk. Sweet madam, give me a hearing in a cause—
  • Queen Margaret. Tush, women have been captivate ere now.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Lady, wherefore talk you so?
  • Queen Margaret. I cry you mercy, 'tis but Quid for Quo.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Say, gentle princess, would you not suppose 2570
    Your bondage happy, to be made a queen?
  • Queen Margaret. To be a queen in bondage is more vile
    Than is a slave in base servility;
    For princes should be free.
  • Earl of Suffolk. And so shall you, 2575
    If happy England's royal king be free.
  • Queen Margaret. Why, what concerns his freedom unto me?
  • Earl of Suffolk. I'll undertake to make thee Henry's queen,
    To put a golden sceptre in thy hand
    And set a precious crown upon thy head, 2580
    If thou wilt condescend to be my—
  • Queen Margaret. What?
  • Earl of Suffolk. His love.
  • Queen Margaret. I am unworthy to be Henry's wife.
  • Earl of Suffolk. No, gentle madam; I unworthy am 2585
    To woo so fair a dame to be his wife,
    And have no portion in the choice myself.
    How say you, madam, are ye so content?
  • Queen Margaret. An if my father please, I am content.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Then call our captains and our colours forth. 2590
    And, madam, at your father's castle walls
    We'll crave a parley, to confer with him.
    [A parley sounded. Enter REIGNIER on the walls]
    See, Reignier, see, thy daughter prisoner!
  • Reignier. To whom? 2595
  • Earl of Suffolk. To me.
  • Reignier. Suffolk, what remedy?
    I am a soldier, and unapt to weep,
    Or to exclaim on fortune's fickleness.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Yes, there is remedy enough, my lord: 2600
    Consent, and for thy honour give consent,
    Thy daughter shall be wedded to my king;
    Whom I with pain have woo'd and won thereto;
    And this her easy-held imprisonment
    Hath gained thy daughter princely liberty. 2605
  • Reignier. Speaks Suffolk as he thinks?
  • Earl of Suffolk. Fair Margaret knows
    That Suffolk doth not flatter, face, or feign.
  • Reignier. Upon thy princely warrant, I descend
    To give thee answer of thy just demand. 2610

[Exit from the walls]

  • Earl of Suffolk. And here I will expect thy coming.

[Trumpets sound. Enter REIGNIER, below]

  • Reignier. Welcome, brave earl, into our territories:
    Command in Anjou what your honour pleases. 2615
  • Earl of Suffolk. Thanks, Reignier, happy for so sweet a child,
    Fit to be made companion with a king:
    What answer makes your grace unto my suit?
  • Reignier. Since thou dost deign to woo her little worth
    To be the princely bride of such a lord; 2620
    Upon condition I may quietly
    Enjoy mine own, the country Maine and Anjou,
    Free from oppression or the stroke of war,
    My daughter shall be Henry's, if he please.
  • Earl of Suffolk. That is her ransom; I deliver her; 2625
    And those two counties I will undertake
    Your grace shall well and quietly enjoy.
  • Reignier. And I again, in Henry's royal name,
    As deputy unto that gracious king,
    Give thee her hand, for sign of plighted faith. 2630
  • Earl of Suffolk. Reignier of France, I give thee kingly thanks,
    Because this is in traffic of a king.
    And yet, methinks, I could be well content
    To be mine own attorney in this case. 2635
    I'll over then to England with this news,
    And make this marriage to be solemnized.
    So farewell, Reignier: set this diamond safe
    In golden palaces, as it becomes.
  • Reignier. I do embrace thee, as I would embrace 2640
    The Christian prince, King Henry, were he here.
  • Queen Margaret. Farewell, my lord: good wishes, praise and prayers
    Shall Suffolk ever have of Margaret.


  • Earl of Suffolk. Farewell, sweet madam: but hark you, Margaret; 2645
    No princely commendations to my king?
  • Queen Margaret. Such commendations as becomes a maid,
    A virgin and his servant, say to him.
  • Earl of Suffolk. Words sweetly placed and modestly directed.
    But madam, I must trouble you again; 2650
    No loving token to his majesty?
  • Queen Margaret. Yes, my good lord, a pure unspotted heart,
    Never yet taint with love, I send the king.
  • Earl of Suffolk. And this withal.

[Kisses her]

  • Queen Margaret. That for thyself: I will not so presume
    To send such peevish tokens to a king.


  • Earl of Suffolk. O, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay;
    Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth; 2660
    There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk.
    Solicit Henry with her wondrous praise:
    Bethink thee on her virtues that surmount,
    And natural graces that extinguish art;
    Repeat their semblance often on the seas, 2665
    That, when thou comest to kneel at Henry's feet,
    Thou mayst bereave him of his wits with wonder.